On February 22, 2017, NASA made a huge announcement during one of their press conferences. This could very well be one of the most exciting and significant findings in history.
NASA has found seven planets orbiting a single star, three of these stars are allegedly habitable zones that could actually have liquid water! This system of planets is orbiting the star named TRAPPIST-1, which is a small dwarf star about 40 light-years away. Just last year we were made aware of three rocky worlds orbiting this star and now we have discovered four more.
This discovery was made using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and several different ground-based telescopes. They were since used to observe the transits of the planets relative to us as they passed across their star. These seven planets have orbital periods that vary and are drastically shorter than the planets in our solar system. This is likely because of the small size of the star itself.
Michael Gillion of the University of Liege in Belgium says that:
“The star is so small and cold that the planets are temperate, which means that they could have some liquid water and maybe life by extension on the surface.”
According to scientists, we may be able to tell within a decade if there is any possibility of these planets to be inhabited. The results from this spectacular finding have been published in in the journal Nature. This is without a doubt going to be a very interesting story to follow. Will we get confirmation of extraterrestrial life or possibly come across more planets like these? Only time will tell.